On Wednesday, CBS faced its first upfront presentation since sexual misconduct allegations toppled its former chairman and C.E.O., Les Moonves. As the network ran through its metrics and upcoming programming before an audience of ad execs, presenters avoided mentioning Moonves directly—at least until Stephen Colbert took the stage.
CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl brought up the Late Show host roughly a half-hour into the presentation. Once onstage, the comedian noted that the network had given him a lengthy document full of details about how well CBS performed this year. “I didnt have time to get through all of it,” he said, “so I just read Bill Barrs four-page summary. Les Moonves: totally exonerated. I did not see that coming!”
Moonves resigned from the network in September, following allegations of sexual misconduct from several women. In a statement at the time, Moonves contested the accusations: “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am,” he said. Several CBS personalities condemned their boss as the story unfolded, including the hosts of CBS This Morning and, of course, Colbert himself. Following Moonvess resignation, Colbert said during his monologue on The Late Show, “The article is extremely disturbing, and Im not surprised that thats it. Les Moonves is gone. For at least nine months, until he does a set at the Comedy Cellar.”
Moonvess resignation brought scrutiny not just toward Moonves, but toward CBSs corporate culture more broadly—and concerns still remain, especially given the Eyes decision to renew Bull, despite sexual harassment accusations against that shows star, Michael Weatherly. (In a statement after the networks settlement of the allegations from Eliza Dushku had been revealed, Weatherly admitted some culpability: “During the course of taping our show, I made some jokes mocking some lines in the script. When Eliza told me that she wasnt comfortable with my language and attempt at humor, I was mortified to have offended her and immediately apologized. After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.”) So even with Moonves gone, CBSs reputation still might have some recuperating to do.
Either way, Colbert entertained to merry cheers during Wednesdays presentation, in which he took a victory lap not only for the networks viewership, but also his own. He touted the networks status as the most watched on broadcast TV for 11 years: “Do you know what that means? That means that there are a lot of old people who dont know the TV has been on in the basement for over a decade. No one tell them, please.” Colberts own series is also reigning as the No. 1 show in late night, not only in overall viewership, but also among adults 18 to 49. The host said he didnt want to boast, but would allow his graphics department to do the work for him. And so, attendees got a gander at an image of Colbert riding a unicorn, with fireworks exploding overhead. “Speaking of the demo,” Colbert said, “Two days ago, I turned 55. And I just waRead More – Source